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Dear fellow survivors,

Perhaps this story is all too familiar. Though I stopped smoking 25 years ago, in early 2004 I was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer. Miraculously, two surgeries later -- the first of which consisted of removal of my entire right lung -- I'm thriving.

I am ever thankful that I am one of the lucky survivors. Lucky, because lung cancer kills more people each year than breast, prostate, colon, and melanomas combined. It is the #1 cause of cancer deaths in this country.

The five-year survival rate for lung cancer is 15% -- a figure that has remained unchanged since Nixon's War on Cancer launched in 1971. Over half of new lung cancer cases diagnosed at Stage IIIb or IV, but only 5% of these individuals will survive beyond the magic 5-year window. Part of the problem is that lung cancer's deadly grasp more often than not remains hidden until symptoms finally appear, or a tumor is discovered purely by chance -- at which point it is usually too late, and the disease has grown to fatal proportions. But while screenings for many other cancers are routine -- think breast self-exams or colonoscopies after age 50 -- a person generally must have substantial risk factors (such as being a heavy smoker) before something even as basic as a chest x-ray is administered on a routine basis.

The answer, then, is early detection -- catching the cancer at its initial stages of growth. This strategy should be as well publicized, as visible on TV and Ipods and on the internet.

Alliances need to be cultivated to broaden the base of social and scientific activism around early detection and promote these and other new screening techniques as lifesaving tools. Early detection of lung cancer receives a fraction of the research funding of other diseases, but we intend, with the creation and distribution of this film, to change that. These tests could save tens of thousands of lives every year -- if we make the public aware they exist.

Fortunately, the Lung Cancer Mortality Reduction Act of 2009 is now before Congress, declaring lung cancer a public health priority; its goal is to cut the mortality rate in half by 2016. And while several lung cancer advocacy organizations are working towards early detection and reducing lung cancer deaths, to date there has been no comprehensive media campaign to deliver this message and galvanize the general public into action, and no compelling and accessible film that can ratchet up the argument.

We have asked Interlock Media, Inc., a non-profit documentary film company with an impressive list of health-related pubic health marketing campaigns to its credit -- for which Jeffrey served Acting Chair of its Governing Board of Directors for over 7 years -- to do just that. Interlock has built an A-list team of writers, directors and technicians to create the first truly in depth film about lung cancer -- including execution of a far-reaching Internet media campaign to distribute the film, web video and podcasts.

The documentary is based on real people with real stories, practitioners, survivors, and advocates for the early detection of lung cancer, all who make the issue come alive. In addition to the feature- length documentary there will be selections for pod casts and videos on demand. We will start with powerfully designed print and web cast materials and a trailer to raise finishing funds for this documentary.

As I approach the crucial five-year survival threshold, you can imagine that I am passionate about this cause and am reaching out to all of you to help us raise $20,000 to launch this exciting project. We know that in these uncertain economic times supporting causes we believe in means deep sacrifices and careful prioritizing. But ?I'm asking you nevertheless to give something, even if it's a modest amount, for an undertaking that is sure to be a key component in the crusade for early detection of lung cancer and increased survival rates of the individuals it claims.

Donations can be made via credit card (Visa or Mastercard) online at Interlock’s secure website -- http://www.interlockmedia.com/donate.php. Or if you prefer, you may send a check to:

Interlock Media

The Athenaeum Building

215 First Street

Cambridge, MA 02142.

Donations of goods such as vehicles and items that are auctionable like artwork and timeshares will be accepted as well. Interlock Media is a 501(3)© non-profit organization, and as such all donations are tax deductible to the maximum extent of the law, and will all be acknowledged in letter form. Our non-profit Federal ID number is 04-3196-958.

Thank you so very much for your time and for helping make this film a reality.


Cecilia Izzo

My favorite quote from Small Graces (Kent Nerburn)

None of us is promised tomorrow. Today, in all its beauty and sadness and complexity, is all we have. This light we see may be the last such day we have on this earth. There is no certainty, beyond the fact that one day we will have no tomorrow, and that it is not ours to know when that day will be."

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